Insurance fraud hits £1bn a year

 
Michael Bow
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INSURANCE fraudsters filed £19m of bogus insurance claims every week on average last year, an annual increase of seven per cent, a new report out today shows.

The study by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows insurers uncovered 139,000 bogus claims worth a total of £983m last year, the equivalent of 15 false claims being made every hour.

The ABI, the insurance trade body, says fraud adds an extra £50 to each customer’s premiums and has backed a new Insurance Fraud Register (IFR) launching today aimed at cracking down on fraudsters.

ABI director general Otto Thoresen said yesterday that the industry took a “zero tolerance approach” to insurance fraud.

“Honest customers are sick of footing the bill for insurance cheats, through higher insurance premiums. From the highly organised ‘crash for cash’ motor scams to the opportunistic exaggeration of a genuine claim, insurers are determined to do what it takes to protect honest customers,” he said.

The IFR – a database of persistent fraudsters – will be operated by the Insurance Fraud Bureau, a collective service set up by the insurance industry. It will store details of people who have made fake claims to help flag offenders.

FRAUD UNCOVERED

■ A man who cut his thumb in a gym made a claim for a more serious injury using a photograph he downloaded from the internet.

■ A group of 30 men, who hired a coach to take them greyhound racing all claimed whiplash following a staged accident with the car behind which they had arranged beforehand.

■ A staged motor accident gang that it is believed were involved in 180 staged and induced accidents, were linked to 230 insurance claims, worth £3.2m.